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SDLP challenged over sideline politics

11 December, 2004

Sinn Féin Assembly group leader Conor Murphy has dismissed remarks made by SDLP leader Mark Durkan concerning the content of the proposed deal as coming from the leader of a party which appears increasingly 'isolated and directionless'.

Mr Murphy said:

" Mark Durkan is correct when he says that the DUP were seeking a veto over ministerial decisions. Mark Durkan is correct when he says that the DUP wished to remove the requirement to vote for Ministers. The DUP achieved none of these objectives because Sinn Féin as the largest pro-Agreement and the largest nationalist party were in the negotiations defending the Agreement.

" What were the SDLP doing? From their increasingly isolated position they stood on the sidelines sniping, hoping against hope that a deal would not be achieved that progress would not be made. I have to say that their decision to join with Ian Paisley and other rejectionists in seeking to humiliate the republican community shows just how politically directionless the SDLP is at this time.

" Sinn Féin remain positive and remain committed to seeing a deal done. We will continue to defend the Agreement from attacks by rejectionist unionism or the SDLP. Sinn Féin have no problem debating our record with anybody and will gladly do so with the SDLP. But of course Mark Durkan will not have a veto over which Sinn Féin representative challenges his latest sideline political intervention." ENDS

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